Today I was bragging about our successful wine festival to some Peninsula folks, and realized exactly how I sounded: like a classic rebellious teen, proud of my identity and pulling away from my comfortable Oakland support system.
Regarding the Montclair festival, the scale felt just right. There were people mellowing out to the jazz, milling around the kids games, and even getting massages at the good-health booths. Of course, the rest were making their way through the mostly-California wine tastings. We had a nice Sunday.
By comparison, the recent Oakland festival was a grown-up event. It had multiple music venues, tons of booths, and participatory art on a grand scale. It was something you would expect from a major city. We liked playing downtown with the whole family, over Labor Day weekend.
Montclair attempts to assert its own identity, despite having no exact geographical boundaries. Oakland Tribune reporter Peggy Stinnett once declared: “It is not a town of its own even if it is called Montclair Village. Children grow up there believing the village is a town and when asked, they’ll say they are from Montclair. I guess they think it’s sort of a suburb to nearby Oakland.”
We have tried to declare independence, sort of. “Ever so often in Montclair’s history, residents have proposed seceding from Oakland. But it has never taken hold because the people have not wanted to assume the municipal burdens the independence would involve, and many of them like being a Village in Oakland. Also, Oakland voters would have to agree. Let’s just forget I ever mentioned it,” said Stinnett.